WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle slipped a pair of scissors into his pocket as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
He didn’t tell his staff members because he didn’t want to alarm them—but also didn’t realize his three staffers made the same call. They, too, had each grabbed a pair of scissors as a last line of defense.
With a table, couch and desk barricading the office door, the Pennsylvania Democrat and his staff huddled in the darkness, listening to the commotion in the hallway.
They were unsure if they were hearing the sounds of law enforcement arriving or of violent pro-Trump supporters who were encouraged by the president to descend on the Capitol as lawmakers certified Joe Biden as the presidential winner on Jan. 6.
“We didn’t know if it was the good guys or the bad guys,” Boyle recalled in an interview on Friday with the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
They were among the members of Congress, aides, journalists, Capitol Police officers and even the vice president of the United States inside the Capitol complex as the mob attacked. The mayhem left five dead and more than 50 law enforcement officers injured. The House impeached the president for a second time on Wednesday, a week after the insurrection. Multiple investigations continue.
A quick decision
As they sat in darkness, Boyle had already made the difficult decision to return to his personal office, rather than stay in a secure room where Capitol Police were guarding more than 300 lawmakers and staff.
Dozens of Republicans in the room had refused to put on masks and he didn’t want to risk his staff exposed to the coronavirus.
Police warned him that if he left they would not be able to protect him or his staff. But looking at the packed room and maskless Republicans, Boyle and his aides took their chances. Several Democrats who were in that room since have tested positive for COVID-19, blaming their GOP colleagues for refusing to wear masks.
Boyle and his aides finally emerged from the office shaken but safe. A day later, Boyle introduced a resolution directing the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation against the president after he leaves office on charges that he incited the mob. Read more